NIR directors urged to develop action plan

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (3rd from left) in a press briefing at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City Wednesday, with (from left to right) Bacolod lone district rep. Greg Gasataya, sixth district rep. Mercedes Alvarez-Lansang, Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, fifth district rep. Emilio Yulo, and 1st district rep. Gerardo Valmayor Jr. (Glazyl Y. Masculino photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – “We need to hit the ground running.”

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri emphasized this as he urged regional directors of the Negros Island Region (NIR) to develop an action plan before budget allocation deliberations for next year.

Zubiri met with local officials in Negros Island yesterday to thank them for their support following the recent approval of the NIR.

During a press briefing at L’Fisher Hotel, Zubiri warned departments to start formulating action plans related to NIR, assuring his assistance in the budget allocation of regional offices.

“We’re heading towards the budget season, but it will take a while before the National Expenditure Program (NEP) reaches the House of Representatives,” Zubiri said. He added that under the Constitution, the House of Representatives deliberates the budget first before it reaches the Senate.

The senator mentioned that during committee budget hearings, he will inquire about each department’s specific plans in compliance with the NIR law.

Zubiri stated that they will ask different provinces to discuss their preferred locations for regional offices. Following this, budget allocation will proceed for the renovation, refurbishment, or construction of these offices, he added.

“I don’t want to pass the budget in 2025 without an allocation for NIR,” Zubiri said. “Departments must come up with a plan now.”

Zubiri noted that the full implementation of NIR is targeted for the first quarter of 2025.

Last month, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed into law the NIR, or Republic Act 12000, comprising the provinces of Negros Occidental (including Bacolod City), Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

“The NIR will hasten the progress and development of Negros as a whole,” Zubiri said, thanking the President for signing it into law.

Zubiri, a Negrense senator whose paternal family hails from Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, said he will continue to push for NIR’s development. He authored and co-sponsored the Senate bill on NIR, Senate Bill No. 2507, with Senator JV Ejercito.

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